Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I never said I was smart

If you ever needed validation that I can be a real dim-wit sometimes, this is it. This is far worse than last night when I bolused and then not only did I forget to eat I forgot I bolused. I realize I am exposing my stupidity here. That's my style though. If you take anything from this, I hope you can at least learn from my mistakes. I also joked last night about writing a book called, "What NOT to do when you have diabetes."

It was thanksgiving long weekend here in Canadia this past weekend. Traditionally, I like to go camping on this weekend. Whatever kind of camping I can find. If it's car-camping, so be it, but I prefer to load up my backpack and hike into the forest. I went car-camping with my bf and two friends.

Friends, dog and me.

As a side note, this is usually the weekend where the fall colours are at their peak. It's also the last weekend the remaining campgrounds are open before they close up for the winter. It was chilly. Highs of 6C or 7C (44F) during the day and lows of -5C (23F) at night. To me, those are balmy tolerable temperatures but to most that's too cold. It didn't help that it rained most of the weekend.

You've probably heard me complain calmly point out that glucose meters tend to not work at slightly lower than normal temperatures. 5C (40F) and my meter starts giving me grief. When I'm out in the cold weather I've just got into a habit of keeping my meter somewhere close to me. The first night camping I sleep with it in my sleeping bag. Consequentially I roll over on it during the night which feels less than fantastic.

I had a sensor on to try and ease the frustration of BG checks in the cold, while hiking, while trail running and in the rain (and snow). During the night my CGM starts squealing that it needs a BG calibration. Here I am fumbling with my meter parts while trying not to wake the person next to me in the middle of the night, in a tiny tent while zipped up tight in my mummy sleeping bag. First strip gives me nothing. I pull out a second and still nothing. No *beep*beep*beep*beep* error warning like it would normally give me. Just... nothing. Strip goes in and I see the indicator to apply blood. I bleed all over the place and it never starts the countdown. 5 fumbling strips later and half-asleep me gives up. I spend the rest of the night silencing the "Meter BG now" alarm amidst choice adjectives while wondering what the F I'm going to do about this come the morning.

The next morning I was low and excited because at least I had a starting point to go from for what my BG was. We decided it was best to make the long stupid drive to the closest pharmacy to buy a new meter. It was a 2 hour (or so) ordeal out and back to the campsite. More guilt and burden than I can shake a stick at. The drive out I was cursing Abbott up a storm saying I was going to call them and give 'em hell when I got home.

New meter in hand I whip out to test my beeg only to discover, the same stinking problem. I was stunned and dumbfounded (read: stupid). "It's the strips? Why aren't the strips working?", I said out loud. I opened my bottle of strips to notice they were all half-hazardly stuffed in there. Some right-side up, some not. Strips always come beautifully packaged all right-side up. I looked closer, some of them had faint indications of dried blood.

Oh my f***ing gawd, they're a container of old strips. Why the hell didn't the meter beep an error like most other meters do?

The idiot's (that's ME) recount of what happened: Before going to sleep I grabbed a fresh bottle of strips. I did what I always do, I empty my meter case full of old bio-hazardous used strips into the old bottle ready to throw out. I remember tossing the old bottle of strips at the end of the tent and sticking what I thought was the new bottle into my meter case which I then cuddled like a teddy bear to keep warm all night long.

Inside my dirty meter case. Loose used bio-hazardous strips

I'm an idiot. I wasted hours of restless beep-filled sleep. I wasted hours and fuel driving. I wasted money on a brand new meter. I felt ashamed. There will be no calling up Abbott in fact maybe someone needs to call me and give me hell instead.

I have another meter now. Perhaps I should start carrying a back-up. That's highly unlikely though and I don't even know why I would even "suggest" such a preposterous idea when I know I'd never do it.

Oh and another notch in the stupid belt.


  1. You, my dear, are too hard on yourself. We've all paid "the stupid tax" our share of times--including the time that I had to spend lots of money to buy a backup meter and test strips that I keep in my office after forgetting my regular one at home for the dozenth time. (There's $100 I won't be seeing again.) This kind of thing happens. Don't beat yourself up over it.

    Hey, you got to go hiking and trailing running... so I'm jealous.

  2. I agree with Jeff - you are so hard on yourself! I have done more dumb things than I'd care to mention, too. It happens.

  3. It's funny that you post this, because I did something similar over the weekend! Well, Dennis did. I'd left me kit in the car during my race, and of course it was cold. On the way home, I told Dennis to stab me and check the beeg. He did, and then I got a strip error. And then another. I was wondering what the deal was and then thought, "Oh. Of course. It's 20 degrees out here. Probably an error from the cold." I ran into the pharm, bought a disposible meter, and all was well. As we were driving home, Dennis asked me if it was safe to keep my strips out of the container, in the pocket of my little meter purse. I was like, "I don't." Then I realized what happened! He'd been grabbing my used strips that I just toss in the pocket of my meter purse thingy until I can properly dispose of them. They were all used strips. I hadn't needed to buy a new meter.

    So, long story short (too late), you are my DIABETES SOUL MATE. We get lost, we use the wrong test's a wonder we are alive. :)

  4. Oh no! But you know what, that's an easy mistake that any of us could have made. I can totally see myself doing something like that. Do you remember the time I filled my insulin pump with not-insulin? Yeah, I've done that.

  5. Scully, you are not stupid. Say it with me, out loud: "I am not stupid." Go out on the street and ask 100 people if they bolused before dinner. Chances are, at least 99 of them won't even understand the question (and if you find a bunch of people who DO understand, I want to live where you're living!). It's a mistake, but you understand what happened and what it's all about. You are not stupid.

    And, for the record, I have held a blood glucose meter tightly against my body while sitting on the bench at a hockey rink, hoping to warm it up so it work. And I have sat in the car outside the rink, heater at full-blast, with the meter up against the vent hoping it would work (it never does). I've hauled around vials of used test strips, placed backwards and upside-down, too. It happens.

    I asked my (former) endocrinologist if HE knew of any meters that worked better in colder temperatures. He gave me no answer, but rather I got a confused, dumbfounded look (not unlike the look I got from my the guy on the street when I asked if he bolused before dinner). Does that qualify as stupid? I'm not quite sure.

    But you are NOT stupid!

  6. I love it when people write about the dumb stuff we do cuz then I don't feel so dumb!

  7. OK, so probably not the nicest thing, but I am giggling at you. ;) Such a wonderful supportive friend I am, laughing at your misfortune!
    I, too, HATE that the used strips don't automatically come up with an alarm so you don't waste time, and blood, on them. Bean's pretty good about putting her used strips in a bioflip from Stick Me Designs, but sometimes they don't get in there. And sometimes a random 'good' strip will make it's way into the case when she's getting out the one she's using. So, it's hard to tell sometimes which is which..especially since they use so little blood. Except for those times that Bean decides she need s glob instead of a dot of blood....those I can always tell are used!
    Back-ups are good...giggle, giggle. ;)

  8. Oh noooo!!! I know it was not at all funny at the time, but it's kind of funny reading about it now. It's such an honest mistake Scully. Don't be too hard on yourself!


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